Home / Politics / Policy /  Rahul Gandhi elected Congress president to challenge Narendra Modi

New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi was on Monday elected unopposed as president of the Congress party. He will take charge on 16 December, after formally collecting a certificate declaring him the new party president.

The announcement, made by the party’s central election authority (CEA) chief Mullappally Ramachandran, came at the end of an internal poll process in which Gandhi remained unchallenged.

His elevation heralds a generational shift with the tenure of its longest serving party president Sonia Gandhi coming to an end.

Rahul Gandhi, 47, is the sixth member of the Nehru-Gandhi family to lead the party.

“Since the withdrawal date and time is over and as there is only one candidate, as per Article XVIII (d) of the constitution of the Indian National Congress, I hereby declare Shri Rahul Gandhi elected as president of the Indian National Congress. This is a historic occasion," Ramachandran announced at a press conference where he was accompanied by CEA members Madhusudan Mistry and Bhubaneshwar Kalita.

Ramachandran added that Gandhi will be given the certificate declaring him the next party president at a function on the lawns of the party’s national headquarters at 24, Akbar Road on Saturday where all the top leaders are expected to be present.

With this, the party has completed its internal polls within the time frame of 31 December stipulated by the Election Commission.

Ramachandran said the party’s 886,358 booth committees, 9,418 block committees and 930 district and city committees took part in the process.

Gandhi was away holding public rallies in Gujarat when the announcement was made in New Delhi.

Celebrations broke out outside the party office with several supporters raising slogans in his name.

Gandhi’s formal anointment as the new party president will come just two days ahead of the results of elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

Senior party leaders feel that the outcome of these two elections are going to be his first test.

Gandhi’s challenges include the party’s diminishing electoral strength, the old guard, motivating party cadre and reaching out to opposition leaders.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Gandhi tweeting: “I congratulate Rahulji on his election as Congress president. My best wishes for a fruitful tenure."

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